Special Report

This Is America's Fastest Dying Industry

Over the past century, some once huge American industries have almost disappeared. Some of these provide products and services Americans no longer use or use much. Others succumbed to foreign competition. Foreign competition, though, isn’t responsible for the fact that America’s fastest dying industry is the administration of insurance funds.

Some increasingly moribund industries, though, involve manufacturing. Cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Toledo, and Detroit were built on these. Now, the cities, and the industries that built them, are nearly gone, as steel production and rubber products are mostly made outside the United States and the car industry has been overwhelmed by products from Germany, Japan, and South Korea. GM is no longer the largest car company in America. After 90 years in the top spot, it was replaced by Toyota last year. (These are the largest car companies in the world.)

Another reason some industries have died is that technology has replaced humans. This has started in retail, where check-out functions can be done by computers. There are even now robotic waiters and cooks in restaurants. Many warehouse functions can be done by machines, as well. Estimates show that artificial intelligence-based products may kill hundreds of thousands of jobs in the next decade.

The demand for people to fill jobs in America has exploded. There are millions of jobs that companies have been unable to fill. Some of this may be due to low pay, as well as the fact that people who have received government assistance may feel less impetus to work full-time.

Even though the employment picture is favorable, there are sectors of the economy that are declining and their longtime prospects look grim. To identify America’s fastest dying industry, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed employment change from 2011 through 2020 for U.S. industries. All data was retrieved from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.

Many sectors we considered have been declining for years and show no sign of reversing course. Every sector on the list shed more than 50% of its workforce from 2011 to 2020.

Click here to see America’s fastest dying industries

Retail has had a tough time attracting workers because of low wages, especially since the onset of the pandemic, as workers recoil from physical interaction with customers. Brick-and-mortar retail also has been in a prolonged decline because of e-commerce. (These are the 25 lowest-paying jobs in America.)

Not all the jobs lost are in manufacturing and retail. Employment at pension funds has been declining since the 1980s because fewer companies maintain pension plans for employees. Businesses do not want to take on the risk of promising employees defined benefits when they retire. Insurance funds, though, are America’s fastest dying industry.

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